Monday, May 9, 2016

Technology? from Ms. Turner

I have gone from no computers to phones that have everything you could want on them.  I love my technology.  BUT…making it a big part of my teaching day was not in my lesson plans.  I used some every now and then but with 2 computers in most class rooms and until this year not any IPads, you had to make a trip to the second computer lab if you wanted to do something with the whole class and not take 2-3 weeks to finish.

Then came this new plan for our school this year and I thought I can do this.  I am still thinking I can do this.  Some days I wish I knew more because there are exciting things that are being done with our technology around our school.  Other days I wish I could give back anything that remotely looks like an IPad or computer. (Usually only on those days that the WIFI is not working.)

My big revelation is that technology is a big equalizer.  I am a Special Education teacher and that means working with students that struggle.  Put an IPad in their hands or give them a laptop and they no longer are the student that struggles, but they become the student expert on how to work your IPad.

They still struggle with the Math or ELA concept, but they know how to work that piece of technology.  I see students going to my students to help them work out a problem on logging on, getting in the app. or just knowing what they need to do.  I see the pride that my struggling students have when they can help others.  I see that student who never volunteers, volunteering to help that student who can’t get their IPad to work. Even I have taken tips from my students because they know their computers!
So no longer a question following technology, but a big yes.  If it can take a struggling student and give him/her a sense of pride in that they can do something another student can’t do, then I say yes.  I am still working to make it more a part of my students’ days, because it will be there for them long after they are no longer with me.


Thursday, May 5, 2016

Tech with a SPED perspective....Mrs. Boruk

Due to the nature of my position and my very limited face time with my students in resource I have not used as much technology as I would like to as a teacher. However, one app that I appreciate as a SPED teacher is Khan Academy. It has content for Math, Science, Economics and finance, Arts and humanities, Computing, Test prep, and Partner Content (including famous museums, companies and colleges). Khan Academy has “created math missions to help learners focus on the grade-level or subject-level of their choice.  Missions (only for math) are personalized math experiences in which students can learn at their own pace, master skills that are challenging and appropriate for their level, and use hints and videos to learn and review.  [They] believe that coaches are critical to student success.” Math is the only subject area that is broken down by grade level. It is the only subject my students use (obviously!). For my purposes I really love the way Khan Academy breaks down the student progress and skill progress.  For each skill it breaks down who is struggling, needs practice, is on their way to mastery or if it is mastered.

 “A coach can be a teacher, a parent, a mentor, or even a peer.  No matter who they are, coaches are there to support their students, celebrate their victories, and help them find lessons in defeat. Our goal is to empower students to take ownership of their own learning and to empower coaches to spend more time doing what they do best: personally interacting with every student, providing guidance and encouragement, and engaging students in collaborative activities.”

You are able to recommend a task to a student based on whether or not they need to practice that skill. Once the student completes the recommendations you have provided, their name moves to “practiced.” You are also able to view individual student progress. This shows how many skills they are struggling with, or have mastered, as well as the amount of time spent on the app and how many points they have earned.

When setting up each student you are able to put in a parent’s email address so that they also get reports on their student’s success. I am hoping that some parents will make this app part of their kid’s summer routine.
I really like the fact that “every Khan Academy account is both a “learner” account and a "coach" account, so all the features available to learners are also available to you as a coach.  The best way to familiarize yourself with our learner features is to experience them for yourself, so feel free to open the "Subjects" menu and start exploring!”
This app has been extremely user friendly and obviously the data is what is invaluable to me.

Lacey Boruk